Thanks for pointing out the limitations. The audiogram has important purposes aside from just setting up the hearing instrument.
As you know it is very common that a user will buy sophisticated Phonak instruments from a dispenser very unfamiliar with them and the dispenser is reluctant to move much beyond the factory (default?) settings and the simplest most cautious adjustments. If the tube/mold/canal characteristics are not what iPFG guesses it to be (based on perhaps inexpert inputs), and the dispenser is reluctant to get in deeper, then the user either returns the unit or suffers with its limitations for years. You hear this story over and over - it is not a very uncommon situation.
As you pointed out AudiogramDirect might be a good tool to uncover such mistakes - bad or sloppy audiograms (like the ones I received) incorrect entries about venting, invalid approximations about the user’s canal etc. Audiogramdirect it seems to me is a chance to throw the cards in the air, ignore what’s been entered and see if the result turns out to be significantly different.
At minimum it’s a powerful troubleshooting procedure that could at least tell the user, the dispenser (or a remote Phonak rep) that mistakes/problems were present in the first pass at programming it and that it is still possible for this user to get an acceptable result.
You stress that AudiogramDirect is not a complete solution. Ideal or not, in some difficult situations where accuracy, troubleshooting expertise and/or motivation are lacking or where getting a thorough, precise audiogram is not in the cards, AudiogramDirect applied by a dispenser or a self-programmer may be the only viable route available to the user to make effective use of his investment or to prevent an unwise investment.